Book Review: ‘A Clockwork Orange’ by Anthony Burgess

A Clockwork Orange is one of the best books I have ever read. Okay, I am a big fan of the Stanley Kubrick film and I had seen it dozens of times before reading the book. However, I went into the book objectively and actually excited to see what was different or what had been left out of the film.

If you have seen the film, it is pretty spot on with the book and follows it, almost verbatim.

There are a few extras in the book that aren’t in the film, most notably the conclusion. The film ends with the final chapter of the book but there is an epilogue in the book that didn’t make it into the film and gives the story a definitive ending and not one as ambiguous as the film’s. There is also a scene involving Alex and his cellmates that adds depth to the story and Alex’s character that you don’t get from the film.

It is hard to read this book and not visualize the film, as you read the dialogue and go from scene-to-scene. The book is well written, not that that should even be a surprise, as it is the work of Anthony Burgess. It also brings an extra level of darkness than the film, which is an insane feat considering where Stanley Kubrick went with the tone of his adaptation.

Most books are better than their movies. However, on a rare occasion, the movie can outshine the source material. In the case of A Clockwork Orange, both the book and the film are pretty perfect. If you love one, you should love the other.

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